Much more than a train station
Luigi Filetici - Moreno Maggi
ABDR Architetti Associati
Officially opened in November 2011, the Tiburtina high-speed train station is the capital’s second largest rail hub in terms of volume and traffic with 18 platforms and connections to three regional lines as well as the Rome underground and Fiumicino airport. But as the website devoted to the new Italian stations explains, it is also a « place for living ».
This environmental and urban regeneration project was part of a more extensive redevelopment programme undertaken jointly by the Rome city council and Ferrovie dello Stato with the aim of connecting road and rail, public and private, urban and extra-urban. At the same time it aimed to create a new hub around the railway intersection and restore a physical and functional link between the Nomentano and Pietralata neighbourhoods, two areas which have long been separated by the railway.
Designed in accordance with the site layout, the project conceived the new station as a kind of suspended gallery or bridge extending perpendicularly to the railway tracks at a level of +9 metres, creating a kind of aerial boulevard connecting the two atriums in Nomentano and Pietralata.
The main characteristic of the project, which was awarded to the practice ABDR Architetti Associati (team leader Paolo Desideri) following an international design competition launched by RFI in 2001, is the powerful architectural impact of the large glass hall (300×60 metres and with a height of 11 metres). Offering views onto both the city and the interior of the station, it is an integral part of the city landscape. The large gallery has 8 floating ovoidal volumes used for management, commercial, accommodation and cultural activities suspended from the ceiling to optimise the structural bays of the upper floors and to solve the problem of vibrations transmitted by the railway traffic. Clad with a visually striking wax-effect green external finish (created by installing alacrite over thermoformed composite panels with a corrugated sheet support), these volumes partially project from the façade to create a sense of movement. The façade itself was constructed using 9 types of glass with different solar factor values to optimise the bioclimatic conditions of the building, which won the Eurosolar Italia award in 2002 for its energy-saving solutions.
As in other projects by ABDR, the materials and claddings were also chosen for their ability to relate to the context and to effectively represent the character and functions of the project. In this strongly contemporary space, a modern-day version of the striking steel, glass and ceramic halls of early train stations, the key materials alongside glass include soapstone, steel sheet and Corten claddings, as well as special coatings used to create the Corten effect on columns and technical walls, and the 40,000 square metres of 14 mm thick porcelain tiles of the floors, consisting of Cendre from the Buxy collection in a 30×60 cm size from Cotto d’Este.
While creating a sense of visual continuity, the Buxy Cendre tiles also achieve the high levels of technical performance required for a high-traffic location like this, including resistance to wear, abrasion and linear thermal expansion, ease of cleaning and maintenance, non-slip qualities and durability. Buxy Cendre is inspired by a French stone of extraordinary beauty with a unique colour and distinctive punctiform graphic design. In the Tiburtina station it creates a neutral platform that dialogues discreetly with the volumes and colours of the station itself as well as those of the street, as if it were its continuation, thereby contributing to the visual connection between this aerial boulevard and the city.
Cotto d'Este, Buxy series
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): <_ 0,05%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): ULA-UHA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): < 134 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): < 510 Kg/cm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R 9
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant